Joey Benik continues to make a name for himself, and the St. Francis Fighting Saints have benefited with a productive season, making a name for themselves. Benik and his Saints fell to the Benilde St. Margaret's Red Knights by a score of 6-3 in North Suburban Conference action Tuesday night.
The game not only erased memories of the Red Knight 16-0 thrashing over the Fighting Saints last season, it also was the stage that Joey Benik seized to tie Jared Festler's all time State scoring record of 62 goals. He accomplished it at the 8:30 mark of the third period as he picked up an errant pass in the neutral zone and split the defense to beat Red Knight goalie Jacob Meyers for the goal.
Benik also had a chance to set the record as he sidestepped a Red Knight defenceman and fired a shot on goal. Meyers was equal to the test, and kept the game a 3 goal affair. The Red Knights improved to 18-4-0 overall and 8-0-0 in the conference. The surprising Fighting Saints fell to 18-6-0 and 6-5-0 in the North Suburban. Behind Benik's performance, they tripled their 6 win total from last season and still have two games remaining not to mention the playoffs.
Festler owns another State mark of 71 goals that includes the sectional and state playoffs set in 2007 as a member of the Little Falls Flyers. He currently plays for the St. Cloud State Huskies, and just one week ago, Benik verbally committed to the same Huskies. Little Falls Ben Hanowski has also committed to the Huskies and he is currently tied with Benik for the lead in points as he has compiled 50g-46a-96pts. Hanowski, a senior, also owns the all time goal scoring lead in the State as he has 173 goals, three more than Two Harbors and Greenway's Corey Carlson. Talk about firepower for the Huskies.
Benik, who is a junior, is on his way to a 100 point season as he has posted an astounding 62g-34a-96pts. Only 9 other players have achieved that status in State High School Hockey history as names like Aaron Broten, Neal Broten, and Johnny Pohl are part of the elite 100 point club. In order to top the Century mark during the regular season, the player needs to average at least 4 points a game.
Looking at Benik's season, he has put up some remarkable numbers as he has been held pointless in just two games. His season high for goals scored in a game is 5 which he accomplished 6 times. He opened the season with a 5g-3a-8pt effort against Monticello/Annandale/Maple Lake. He has recored multiple point games in 18 of his 24 games played and has scored three goals or more in a game 12 times.
His right hand man is TJ Belisle who has had a sterling season in his own right with 25g-33a-58pts. Benik has an incredible set of mitts as his hand speed is impressive. He can read a pass in the neutral zone or high in his own zone, as if he is a step ahead of his opponent who has the puck, and takes off with an impressive start up. A player does not score 62 goals without an impressive release. He has that as he can shoot from any situation, and is accurate. Benik is the prototypical pond hockey type of player who oozes a love for the game, and has fast become a player to watch in Minnesota High School Hockey. It has been our pleasure to introduce him to the State of Hockey, and he will continue to write an impressive book with a young Fighting Saint team in 2009-2010.